Juneteenth celebration takes over Main Street, McLevy Green

June 10, 2017 GMT

BRIDGEPORT — Music thundered through Harbor Yard as the 25th annual Juneteenth Parade and Festival rolled off Saturday at noon.

The Juneteenth African-American Caribbean Parade and Festival celebrates the freeing of the last slaves were freed in the United States on June 19, 1865, according to the Juneteenth of Fairfield County website.

People lined Main Street for the parade, and many gathered around McLevy Green, where a stage was set up for musical performance and several vendors and food trucks were open for business.

One man who attended the parade with his son said he’s been a Bridgeport resident for more than 30 years, and never misses the parade.

He did not want to give his name, but he said he identifies himself as “Jamerican.”

“It is such a great thing to celebrate our culture,” he said.

He said the meaning of the parade was what mattered most.

“The festival has been growing every year,” the man said. “Tears came to my eyes when I saw the pride and enthusiasm of the young folk.”

Cynthia Griffin, founder of the Bridgeport Juneteenth Parade and Festival, was near the parade’s starting point. Griffin was dressed head to toe in green.

Several marching bands and dance teams were in the parade, and they stopped every so often along the route to perform.

Among the many vendors was Adelani Treasures, run by Leticia McFadden, who comes from Baltimore.

McFadden, who said this was her time at the Bridgeport festival, was selling her educational workbook series, along with pieces of African art.

“It’s a great experience to see everyone come together and celebrate like this,” McFadden said.

After the parade ended around 1:15 p.m., celebrations were scheduled to continue until around 7 p.m. in the McLevy Green.